Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Is Going On? #BlackLivesMatter But #NativeLivesMatter Too

It's been a crazy couple of...years? I was going to say it's been a crazy couple of days, then I thought weeks, months, and honestly. It's been a crazy couple of years. It's like we can't go a day without hearing about this person being killed by a cop, or this person killing a cop. It's insane. What is going on?

But also, why are we seeing so many, but yet so few of these stories? You're probably thinking, "what the hell are you talking about, Kaitlynn?" And I wouldn't be surprised. Like I said, we hear so many of these stories. It's not at all uncommon for there to be news about a black person being killed by a cop when they were not doing anything at all, or even just not doing something worth being killed over.

But what about the Native people being killed by cops? I am all for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Honestly, black lives DO matter. And I'm not one of those people that say #AllLivesMatter because I am well aware that the BLM movement is simply saying that black lives ALSO matter, not that they matter more. I get that.

But I do have a problem with the people in the BLM movement that call me racist because I use #NativeLivesMatter and spread stories like this or this. How am I racist for sharing these stories and using our hashtag? Especially since I am told to create or use a hashtag and spread my stories by other people in the BLM movement. How hypocritical.
Like I said, I'm here for the BLM movement. Your life matters. Your people should not be killed at traffic stops for busted taillights. Especially not in front of a 4-year-old. You shouldn't be dealing with this, truly. But neither should my people.

Why do people know Sandra Bland's name, but not Rexdale Henry? Rexdale matters. Paul Castaway matters. Allen Locke matters. Are we not as important? Why are our stories cast aside and ignored?

Do you know what year black people gained citizenship in the United States? It was 1868 with the 14th Amendment. Know what the 14th Amendment said about Natives? It said we were excluded if we "maintain(ed)...tribal ties" and that "Native Americans who voluntarily quit their tribes did not automatically gain national citizenship." Know when we gained citizenship in the United States? It was 1924.

Picture this, the Spaniards come to our country, we keep them alive because without us they would have died before the first winter was out. They repay us by giving us smallpox infested blankets, killing anyone they came across, raping women, and enslaving us when our numbers were low enough. And after that, they still don't allow us citizenship until centuries later.

The United States became a fully-fledged country, separate from England, in 1776. Just under a century later they gave full citizenship to the recently freed slaves that they brought to their stolen country, in 1863. Then, almost two centuries after becoming a country of their own, they finally give the original inhabitants citizenship. And to this day activists and protesters of the cruel treatment Natives receive in this country are killed and imprisoned on false or trumped up charges.

Again, I want to stress that I am in no way against the BLM movement. Personally, I hope that by shedding light on the injustices black Americans face today will help shed light on the injustices Native Americans have been facing for centuries. Our histories are warped,  or worse, changed entirely. In school you don't learn the truth about my people.
We will never change anything if we sit here and just let it keep happening. We have to stand up for our people and we have to stand up to police and the so-called "justice system." We need to ask why if your skin is not white you get a longer sentence for the exact same crime as a white person. And keep asking until we get answers.

My family is listed as "white" on the US census. Why? Well, it's because we weren't allowed to say we were Native until less than a century ago. And even then, it wasn't the best thing to be Native in America. It's so sad to see that we are still dealing with the same problems after centuries of trying to make things better and equal for all of the citizens of this great country.

All men are created equal, but are we truly equal?











3 comments:

  1. I've never thought of it that way. The world really is crazy.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  2. This world is crazy and it's such a slippery slope as to what can be said and what shouldn't be said but thank you for sharing those stories and keep doing what you're doing.

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